There are a lot of reasons to spend time in Greenpoint. Head to Transmitter Park, and you can catch a downright oceanlike breeze off the East River. Walk down one of the neighborhood’s leafy streets, and you can enjoy the fantasy that you’re starring in your very own quiet coming-of-age biopic set in Brooklyn. Hang out on any corner for a few minutes, and you’ll also experience unparalleled dog-watching.
Most importantly, though, you should be spending time in Greenpoint because it’s a fantastic place to eat. This is a list of the 23 best restaurants - from tasting menus to incredible takeout-only spots - in the neighborhood.
Chez Ma Tante is no longer the underrated, understated restaurant on a quiet corner in Greenpoint. Chez Ma Tante is a destination restaurant - and it is deserving of every bit of attention it gets. While the celebrity dish here is the pancakes at brunch (do not miss the beet Bloody Marys), dinner at Chez Ma Tante is just as, if not more impressive. We will always order the Caesar salad, the stracciatella cheese, and whatever charcuterie is on offer that night. Oh, and absolutely save room for dessert, too.
If you are reading this and you still haven’t been to Di An Di, we hope you’re having a nice day, and we also hope you stop reading this and go to Di An Di. This Vietnamese restaurant - one of our favorites in the city - recently reopened their plant-filled dining room for the first time since March 2020. We’d suggest you bring friends to tackle as much of the menu as you can, but we can also speak from experience when we tell you a bowl of their brisket pho at the bar is an excellent solo dining choice.
Achilles Heel is a vacation in a restaurant - a place that makes you feel like you’ve found a little escape. In the summer, the sun sets across the East River right behind this little corner spot, bathing everything in golden-hour light and making you feel like you’re drinking your spritz somewhere in Europe. In the winter, sitting by the wood-burning fireplace inside is like hanging out in a little ski lodge (that happens to have an excellent wine list). The menu is short and the kitchen is tiny, but trust that whatever seasonal dishes Achilles Heel is currently making, you should be ordering.
Bernie’s is Greenpoint’s version of Cheers. It’s the place where it feels like everyone knows your name - or at least, where you really want them to. Where the tables are covered in red-checkered cloth, and the red vinyl booths suck you in so you never want to leave. And where an order of cold martinis, mozzarella sticks, chicken parmesan, and a massive brownie sundae has the power to turn any bad day into a good one.
Chiko opened in the fall of 2019 as a tiny chef’s counter serving an intricate, seafood-focused 13-course menu for around $160. After a pandemic-pivot, this Greenpoint spot is now carryout-only, and no dish is over $15. The menu rotates - most recently it’s been Taiwanese and Sichuan-centric - and while there are only ever around six items, all of them are worth ordering again (and again and again). The care and thought that Chiko puts into its food is apparent in every dish - whether it’s mapo tofu and dan dan noodles, or pork buns and Hakka stir fry. While you’re there, pick up a jar of their homemade chili oil. You’ll end up slathering it on everything you cook at home.
The next time you’re planning a group dinner, remember Oxomoco. This white-walled, high-ceilinged, plant-covered Mexican restaurant has big round booths, an excellent cocktail list, and shareable food everyone will be excited to eat. The tacos, tostadas, and tlayuda are all great - but the sleeper hit of the menu is the pollo a las brazas, an excellent chicken dish that comes with tortillas and crispy rice so you can have a DIY taco station at your table. And while the dining room is one of our favorites in the neighborhood, Oxomoco also has a greenhouse-like covered patio that’s exceedingly pleasant.
Xilonen is one of the most exciting new restaurants not just in Greenpoint, but in NYC. This all-day cafe (from the same team behind Oxomoco), looks right out onto McCarren Park, and serves an entirely vegan and vegetarian menu of inventive Mexican dishes - like a purple potato taco with griddled cheese, or a scrambled egg tostada with salsa macha. It’s a fantastic place for a midweek lunch, casual dinner, or brunch that feels special without being too expensive - you order at the walk-up window, and the priciest dish is $12.
Little Tiffin opened in Greenpoint during the pandemic, and it’s quickly become the neighborhood’s best Thai restaurant. Try the pad see ew with perfectly cooked Chinese broccoli and super fresh som tum that hits all the spicy, salty, sweet high notes - dishes inspired by the cooking of the owner’s grandmother, who was a chef for Thai royalty in Chiang Mai. In addition to running an excellent takeout operation, Little Tiffin’s casual, comfortable space has both indoor and sidewalk seating - a great choice for a low-key weeknight meal.
You have to go looking for Salsa Pizzeria - it’s on a mostly-residential street, in a converted space that feels like someone put a pizza oven in a garage. If it weren’t for the strong pizza fragrances wafting from the doors, you could easily walk by and miss it. And while a small part of us wishes we could keep this place all to ourselves, you should know that Salsa is making some truly special Neapolitan pies. The crust is charred but exceptionally fluffy, the margherita is the platonic ideal of a margherita, and they are generous with toppings like broccoli rabe, sausage, and burrata. There are only a few tables inside and on the sidewalk - so this is a spot for an efficient, semi-religious solo pizza experience.
Frankel’s only opened in 2016, but it has already achieved Greenpoint icon status - their bagel sandwiches are instantly recognizable, sort of like Bill Murray or the Pope. Our go-to orders at this new-school take on an old-school Jewish deli are the combo #1 (lox, scallion cream cheese, and cucumbers), the egg sandwich on brioche with greens, swiss, and caramelized onions, and the turkey reuben. If you want to skip the line, order online ahead of time to pick up - then take your food to McCarren Park for the perfect picnic.
Threes Brewing was already one of the best places to drink beer in Greenpoint. Now that The Meat Hook’s Burger Shop has taken over the kitchen, it’s also one of the best places to eat a burger in Greenpoint. Theirs is a smashburger (single or double) draped in cheese on a squishy potato roll - the kind of burger you have to stop yourself from eating too quickly, lost in a trance while ignoring all conversation going on around you. It’s open seven days a week and is walk-in-only, making it a great place to keep in your back pocket for when you spontaneously decide you need to eat a burger outside tonight.
Coast & Valley does everything it can to make you feel like you’re somewhere in Sonoma, even if your sidewalk table does look out onto a busy Brooklyn street filled with heaps of trash. It’s a wine bar and small plates spot focused exclusively on wines produced on the West Coast, and food inspired by it as well. It’s a great place for an early-stage date, but maybe even better for a solo dinner. Self-care is a glass of wine with their California spa-like poached chicken with avocado and charred cucumber.
There are many ways to enjoy Rule of Thirds, the beautifully-designed Japanese restaurant in a sprawling, industrial space. Their dining room is a lovely place to work your way through the excellent cocktail list (like the Hidden Forest, which tastes like a martini infused with an entire garden) and dinner ranging from sashimi to large-format tonkatsu. Brunch is also a big draw here, when you can try the Japanese souffle pancake. Then there are the outdoor private bungalows, which you can reserve for a very special feast. And for something on the opposite end of the spectrum, check out Yakitiki, their weekend-only, no-reservation cocktail and grilled skewers party that happens at the sidewalk tables outside the restaurant.
Safely in the canon of New York City pizza institutions, a lot has changed about Greenpoint in the past few years, but Paulie Gee’s is forever. The pies are great, as is the candelit, cavernous dining room. The Hell Boy should always be on your table.
Paulie Gee’s Slice Shop - located a couple blocks away from the original restaurant - is, unsurprisingly, the greatest slice shop in the neighborhood. The Sicilian, with its pillowy crust and crunchy sesame-seed covered bottom, is the best thing here.
When Acre opened in the spring of 2020, it became an instant bright spot for the neighborhood. This Japanese coffee shop and cafe serves perfect bento lunch boxes (with pork katsu or chicken karaage, purple rice, fermented vegetables, and salad) - and their egg sandwich on a brioche bun is an ideal thing to sink your teeth into when you’re ravenous at noon on a Wednesday. It’s an essential Greenpoint lunch spot, especially now that both their parklet and back garden are open for sunny seating, in addition to their coffee shop and dining room.
Fulgurances is a French restaurant concept with three spots - plus a regularly-published magazine - in Paris. And its first American location just opened (in June 2021) in a former laundromat space in Greenpoint. The restaurant functions like an artist’s residency for chefs - inviting one at a time to run the restaurant and serve a seasonal tasting menu of their own design. Fulgurances Laundromat opened with chef Victoria Blamey, and the summer 2021 menu is five courses focused on seafood. It’s pricey (the menu is $80, plus wine pairings, glasses, or bottles), but if you’re interested in experiencing a chef incubator, make a reservation for this intimate, special-occasion dinner.
Over the past few years, Greenpoint has become a neighborhood where you can expect hour-long waits at tons of spots people have traveled across the city to try. Esme is one of our favorite places to avoid (most of) them. This place is filled with neighborhood people who come for the blueberry pancakes at brunch, the rotating seasonal menu at dinner, and the peaceful outdoor patio.
This Mediterranean spot sits at the very top of the borough - go any farther north and you’re in Queens. Glasserie opened in 2013 and, despite an influx of newer, “hotter” spots in the years since, it has quietly continued to serve some of the very best food in the neighborhood, in a former factory space that still feels special. We love Glasserie for a date night dinner, but it’s a fantastic choice for brunch, when they offer a mezze feast.
Greenpoint is full of Polish markets where you can pick up kielbasa to make at home, but Karczma is our favorite place in the neighborhood to eat kielbasa someone else made for us. Their pierogies are the best in Greenpoint, and the kitschy space (decorated like a barn) is a great place to gather a group of friends for an affordable feast - especially in the dead of winter. Ordering a “Hunter’s Stew” just feels right when you’ve survived another Tuesday in February.
During the pandemic, Greenpoint Fish & Lobster closed its restaurant operation and focused on being the neighborhood’s much-needed source for high-quality fish to make at home. Now it’s finally back open, with patio seating for the first time ever. Turns out their lobster rolls, fish tacos, and crudos taste even better outside. Try it for a leisurely, wine-soaked weekend lunch or casual weeknight dinner.
Not even a fire - which closed this place for several months - could stop Anella from being one of Greenpoint’s most dependable neighborhood restaurants. It’s a true neighborhood hang, which you can always count on for a laid-back burger or bowl of pasta in the covered backyard patio. This place sticks to what it’s done for years, and we love it for that.
After a pandemic year devoid of most restaurant experiences - especially restaurant bar experiences - 21 Greenpoint remains a place where it’s always good to be eating a burger at the bar. The menu changes frequently, but the double smashburger is a constant (you might just have to ask for it off-menu).